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Cuomo: Honor both Columbus and indigenous people

ALBANY – There doesn’t need to be a choice between a holiday celebrating Christopher Columbus or indigenous people, says Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Let’s do both, Cuomo said Monday as kicked off another march in Manhattan’s Columbus Day Parade.

“Should we honor Christopher Columbus or should we honor the indigenous people. It’s not either or. It’s both. Of course we should honor the indigenous people,’’ Cuomo said just before his annual march as governor in Monday’s parade.

At a time when some communities were dropping “Columbus” from the October holiday in favor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Cuomo, an Italian-American, suggested Italian-American heritage can be honored as well as Native Americans.

Asked about the review of Christopher Columbus statues on public lands ordered recently by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, also an Italian-American, Cuomo did not directly answer a reporter’s question. Instead, he said, “I reject the negativity of a lot of the current day political tactics across the country.’’ He and de Blasio have had a years’ long running feud.

Opposition by some activists to statues, parades and an annual holiday honoring Columbus have heated up in recent weeks in the wake of removal of some statues and street names honoring Confederate leaders. On Monday, Los Angeles, among others, celebrated “indigenous, aboriginal and native people” after its City Council in August dropped Columbus Day as a holiday.

“It doesn’t have to be about differentiation and I’m against this and I’m against this. Forget the opposition. Let’s talk about affirmation. It’s not either or. It’s both,’’ Cuomo said.


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